Lusty Beg – An island retreat in Co. Fermanagh

Hit pause and unwind

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Words by Tanya Grimson
March 2nd, 2017

Located just over 3 hours’ drive north of Dublin in Lower Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh lies the island of Lusty Beg. Lusty Beg is a 75-acre private oasis of tranquillity and man-made treats to keep you either active or rested – however, you choose to spend your time on the island is up to you and that’s the beauty of this hidden gem. The sense of adventure and realisation that you are going somewhere that is not only novel but also charming lies in how you get there. As you approach the sign for Lusty Beg you are transported in your car to the island on a small boat (albeit the journey is under five minutes long) but it immediately enforces the notice of escaping to seclusion in only a few short moments. As I was also travelling with my six-year-old, this was the equivalent of opening the wardrobe to Narnia as he embarked on a magical trip across the lake to his ‘private island’.

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Accommodation

The island is broken up into various accommodation options, from rooms that can be booked on a nightly basis to self-catering options of chalets that sleep 4-6 people to their more decadent lodges with private verandas that can sleep up to six. We were staying in a lodge overlooking the lake with beautiful wooden décor, a stone fireplace with wood burning stove and fire pack included in the very large living area. The space is complimented by the balcony that wraps around the cabin, allowing you to breathe in the open air and truly appreciate the absolutely stunning landscape around you. Each lodge consists of a twin room downstairs, a beautiful wooden panelled double room upstairs, another twin room that was so quaint and cosy my son was immediately unpacking his teddies and making it their new home away from home within minutes. The lodges are self-catering and the kitchen provided is not only an ideal size but with a very contemporary fit out with everything you could wish for, whether you are away with a group of friends or a family.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the weather was not good especially on the Monday of our stay, with sweeping rain and winds outside forcing us to retreat in our lodge, watch movies and enjoy the sound of the rain on the lake. Taking this opportunity to cosy up in front of the fire in the background, it was in these quieter moments that we were given the ‘no excuses’ opportunity to simply unwind and fully immerse ourselves in this island way of living.

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Activities

The island caters for whatever style of holiday you want, whether you want it to be activity based or purely about relaxation and indulging the senses. For activity types, you are spoilt for choice- make sure to book in the 4 x 4 off-road driving experience. When we arrived we booked in for a session but prepare to throw the classic rules of driving out the window and listen very carefully to your instructor if you don’t want to overturn or get your jeep stuck in the mud. During the 45 minutes, you will both (if two drivers) have the opportunity to drive the car for approximately 20 minutes through hills of steep mud and winding mud slides in deep forest terrain. It is nerve racking, sweat inducing and a hell of a lot of fun. If this only whets your appetite then book in for clay pigeon shooting or archery as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to participate in either of these as I was travelling with a child but had I been travelling with friends they would have been high on my list of things to do. Other options include kayaking, rib boat safari and hiring bicycles.

If you fancy more of a retreat away from work, then this is the also ‘the’ place to come to. Choose to just walk the island, soak up the pure silence that surrounds the resort and make The Island Spa your next destination. Choose from a range of treatments be it bath rituals, scrubs, facials or a massage all using organic VOYA products and avail of their small but very quaint heated indoor swimming pool and then back to the lodge for some extra R&R.

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Food & Drink

The Island has both a bar and a restaurant but it seems the bar is the most favoured option with most guests choosing to eat more informally accompanied by an open fire and a pint of Guinness. The menu offers what you would expect in a hotel from steaks and burgers to chilli mussels and salads, but I would highly recommend their slow cooked ragu lasagne which was a real surprise as was their chicken liver pâté. On our first night we chose to eat in the bar and our second night in the restaurant and although the menu for both the bar and the restaurant are the same, it is nice to dine in a more formal setting with candlelit tables and a nice warming atmosphere.

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Overall, I left Lusty Beg feeling sad to be leaving this beautiful sense of tranquility and temporary sense of healing behind me. The absolute unspoilt beauty of the surroundings and the view from our bedroom every morning, when we opened the curtains with the lake in our eye line was hard to leave behind. In stark contrast to a busy city life juggling work and motherhood, Lusty Beg gave me exactly what I hoped for and what I needed- a chance to regroup with my family, soak up the silence and have fun in the outdoors. Sometimes it’s just the simple things such as throwing stones into the lake or going on an insanely muddy nature walk followed by a warming drink in the bar that happen to re-calibrate the senses and bring you back to zero once again. This may have been my first visit but it definitely won’t be my last.

For more information see www.lustybegisland.com or call  (028) 68633300.

Competition Time

For a chance to WIN a weekend away for four on Lusty Beg Island with an off-road driving experience fill in your details below. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more chances to enter.

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